What do you know? Being fiscally responsible (and enjoying some great revenue streams) pays off:
Study the state's economic outlook, its revenue forecast, its gross receipts tax trends and one thing will be clear: Gov. Bill Richardson has some serious cash in the bank.
The money - a just-announced boost for the next fiscal year of $723 million more than this year - no doubt will help Richardson appease the wants of 112 lawmakers in the upcoming 60-day session...
Richardson already has outlined parts of his wish list for the 2007 session. He got some input on his health care, homeland security, education and energy ideas at a closed-door retreat with a group of policy advisers, consultants and former governors from New Mexico and across the country on Monday...
On the list from Republicans and Democrats: More police officers to enforce DWI laws. Additional cash in the trust fund for water projects. Millions more for Medicare, health care, teachers. Expedited income tax cuts. And overall, avoid creating new programs that will take money each year...
Richardson said he wants $100 million in tax cuts. The relief among other things is aimed at helping New Mexicans make paying for college more affordable, helping clean energy companies and assisting working families.
"The consistent strength of our economy gives me confidence that we can cut taxes, invest in our schools and make health care available to more New Mexicans, while maintaining prudent cash reserves," he said in a statement.
1 - Tax cutting that helps out regular folks and clean companies just makes sense. This is such an excellent frame for the national debate - not a tax raiser, but a tax invester - that usually falls along such predictable lines.
2 - Richardson should take the Governor's scapel and cut some program costs right now when he has the chance. Being fiscally responsible means making tought choices and he's done it in the past. He might as well prove his mettle even more now while he has the money and resources.
3 - Be innovative. Experiment with some new ideas at the local level to increase resource (energy, water) conservation or development controls. Again, he's been doing this for awhile but more can't hurt.